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The Munchkin of today originated in Louisiana, America in 1983 although dwarf cats were observed and documented in England in 1930. Four generations were described, including an eight-year-old female, whose progeny were similar in appearance. Sadly, these cats disappeared during World War II but were reported to be found in Stalingrad in 1953. This cat was called the Stalingrad Kangaroo cat due to its tendency to sit up like an alert rabbit. These cats died out without being established as a breed. The Munchkin is actually a dwarf rather than a miniature cat, with the long bones of the legs being shorter than that of a normal cat. Munchkins do not breed true; that is, they do not consistently breed short-legged kittens. Litters of kittens born to either a male or female Munchkin are, on average, half short-legged. These are the true Munchkins. The long-legged (non-) Munchkin offspring are non-standard and do not possess the Munchkin gene. Because of their appealing characteristics, including good head type, temperament and conformation, long-legged (non) Munchkins are often used in Munchkin breeding programmes however, most are found homes as pets. The early breeders named these cats after the little people of Munchkin land from ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Munchkins are self-assured, curious, confident and outgoing cats. The Munchkin is a breed, unhampered by their unique genetic make-up. They are amusing to watch, very social and outgoing and playful. In spite of their short legs, they can run very fast with climbing not posing any problems for these agile cats. They are easily trained to walk on a harness. The Munchkin has a breed standard, which includes both a shorthair and longhair type. The shorthair standard calls for a medium resilient coat with all weather texture and lustrous appearance. The long hair standard calls for a semi-long hair coat of moderate density with an all weather texture. The longhair sports a full flowing tail plume and longer hair on the neck, ruff and britches. The Munchkin is a new breed here in Australia. It is currently being bred with the domestic cats of various body, head types and patterns. It is likely to take some time until uniformity is achieved among Munchkins in Australia.

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